Stars 4, Oilers 2
Eight is certainly great for the surging Stars.
and Adam Burish
each had a goal and assist, and the Stars set a new franchise record with their eighth straight road win with a 4-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night at Rexall Place.
"We're keeping it simple and playing a good team game," Benn said. "That's what you have to do on the road, and it's paying off. I don't think we played our best game, but we got a big two points. We did enough to win."
finished with 30 saves, and once again helped his club shake off a sluggish start in order to win its fifth straight overall. The Stars have garnered points in all of their games during the month of January (7-0-1), and pushed their Pacific Division-leading point total to 63 points.
"We'll take this win," said Mike Ribeiro
, who scored a second-period goal to give Dallas a 2-1 lead. "We didn't play as well as we were hoping. They're a fast and quick team. But we stuck with it and kept pushing."
The Stars sleepwalked through a lackluster first period in which they were fortunate to come out with a 1-1 tie. The Oilers jumped on Dallas with a strong forecheck, and took six of the game's first seven shots during the first seven minutes of the contest.
But Dallas took control in the second period with a pair of goals, and in the third allowed Edmonton to take a mere four shots on Lehtonen, who won his 21st game.
"Our first period was completely awful," forward Steve Ott
said. "It wasn't one guy, it was all of us. We were making really bad plays, we weren't anticipating much, and it was like we were stuck in mud."
"We still need to get better defensively," Ribeiro added. "We're giving up a lot of shots."
also scored for the Stars, who haven't lost in regulation since a 4-1 defeat to the Vancouver Canucks at American Airlines Center on New Year's Eve.
"(Kari) kept us in the game," Ribeiro said. "He made the right save at the right time. In the third period we gave a lot less, and had better positioning to close them off. But the first two periods Kari played amazing for us."
Ryan Jones and Jeff Petry scored, and Nikolai Khabibulin finished with 20 saves for the Oilers, who lost for the eighth time in their last 10 games after coming in as the worst team in the Western Conference with 35 points.
With the game tied after 20 minutes, Ribeiro extended his career-long points streak to 10 games with his 10th of the season 6:26 into the second period. Ribeiro picked up the puck along the right boards and skated into the Edmonton zone before feeding the trailing Nicklas Grossman
in the high slot. Grossman promptly returned the pass to Ribeiro, who neatly wristed a shot in from the lower portion of the right circle.
Neal upped the lead to 3-1 with his team-leading 19th of the year on the power play with 7:09 left in the second. Benn slid a short pass to Neal within the right circle, and Neal one-timed it past Khabibulin.
The Oilers, though, cut the deficit to 3-2 with 68 seconds left in the second when Petry scored his first career NHL goal. After accepting a feed from behind the goal line by Ladislav Smid, Petry unleashed a slap shot from the point that whistled past Lehtonen.
Burish capped the scoring with an empty-net tally with a second to go in regulation, scoring from his own zone. It was the gritty forward's sixth goal of the season, and second in the last three games.
The Stars struck first when Benn scored his 13th of the season with 8:20 remaining in the first period. Along the right boards at the Edmonton blue line, Burish was able to chip the puck to Benn, who had slipped behind an Oilers defenseman. Benn then converted a nifty deke of Khabibulin with a one-handed backhand.
"I'm getting more comfortable and holding onto the puck more," Benn said.
The Oilers tied it 71 seconds later when Jones scored his 11th while Edmonton was shorthanded. Andrew Cogliano's pass to Jones, who was driving to the net, went off the forward's right skate and in. The goal was confirmed after a short video review.
The Stars will next face the Calgary Flames on Friday in the second of their three-game jaunt through western Canada (8 p.m., FS-SW). The Flames entered Thursday night in 14th place in the Western Conference.
-- Defensemen Matt Niskanen
(hand), and forwards Aaron Gagnon
and Francis Wathier
were the scratches. Gagnon and Wathier were recalled from the Texas Stars of the AHL on Wednesday.
-- All four games between the Stars and Oilers this season will take place over a 36-day span. Three of the games will be in January.
-- Neal has six goals in his last eight games.
-- Benn has a career-high five-game points streak.
-- Lehtonen's 21 wins is the second-most in his career. He registered 34 victories with Atlanta in 2006-07.
-- The Stars are 7 of 13 on the power play over the past three games after cashing in on 1 of 3 opportunities against the Oilers.
-- Grossman has three points in his last five games.
-- Burish has five points in his last four games, and recorded his first multi-point game of the season.
-- Loui Eriksson
had his impressive 10-game career-long points streak come to an end.
-- The previous record of seven straight road wins was matched three previous times, with the last bridging November and December of 2001.
-- Lehtonen has surrendered two or fewer goals in his last seven starts (6-0-1).
-- The Stars improved to 16-4-2 against Edmonton since the start of the 2005-06 season.
|Three star selections